Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A whole new meaning for sell-through

Thanks to the Professional Writers Association of Canada blog for making us aware of an intriguing initiative being taken by Boing Boing, a blog that has, er, a much larger audience than does this one. The Boing Boing Digital Emporium is a pilot project to post certain texts in pdf form that can be downloaded for a small fee [similar to Apple's i-Tunes -- see the comment below].

This would seem to be a way to not only compensate creators (writers, artists, composers) for use of their material (net of the costs of the transaction -- PayPal or similar), but also to cut out the middlemen (producer, publisher)who often take most of the action. It is early days, but this may be a real step forward, one which would allow makers to reach huge audiences AND get compensated for it. This last part has always been the hard part.

One could see a situation in which freelancer writers would sell one-time rights, say to a magazine, retain all other rights, post their work through a service such as this and be paid (albeit in thousands of tiny fees)for access to it. If the magazine wanted to buy secondary or archiving rights, that would certainly continue to be possible. Right now, Boing Boing charges $1 an item, but there's no magic in that amount. If the volume was sufficient, an item could cost 10 cents, theoretically, or $20 if it had that kind of value. More needs to be known about this idea, but congratulations to Boing Boing for launching it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey D.B. -- it is a very intriguing idea, and thanks for linking to the PWAC blog again. One small correction: I don't think Boing Boing is actually selling their downloads through the iTunes e-commerce site. What I wrote (or meant to) was that Boing Boing has picked up the iTunes buck-a-download pricing scheme. Sorry for the mix-up.

And yes, other freelancers are also imagining a similar future.

12:19 pm  

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